Notes: Seguin still trying to prove himself

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Notes: Seguin still trying to prove himself

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK Tyler Seguin finished with no power-play minutes for the first time in several weeks, and managed just a sliver over eight minutes of ice time in Bostons 5-3 loss to the Rangers Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Seguin has been very active on the power play and patient with the puck when its on his stick, but he needs to keep moving, flinging the stick and carving out a role for himself on a good playoff team.

I cant say that hes in. I cant say that hes out, said coach Claude Julien, referring to Seguin's playoff participation. Theres still some time to see him. The one thing I can tell you is that the last month or month-and-a-half hes taken some strides while feeling more confident in his game.

Its a good sign. You dont question his skill level, but hes got to have confidence he can go in the corners and come out with the puck. You dont need to see him running over guys, but you want to see him get into the corners a little bit.

Its a tough pill to swallow for Seguin as he has watched his ice time again diminish a bit after hed seemingly carved out a role for himself. But it appears this rookie season is all about proving himself to his teammates and coaching staff over and over again, and perhaps that will continue with taking a seat to start the playoffs.If one were to judge which B's forward would potentially get the seat to start things off, it might just be thatSeguin wasgiven the low 5-on-5 ice time and zero power play time in a harbinger of a healthy scratch or two to come if they match up against the Rangers. Count Julien among those who feel Tim Thomas not only should be a shoo-in for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie, but also should be strongly considered for the Hart Trophy as most valuable player.

I think hed have to be a real strong candidate for us in regard to that. More so in the way the game is played today, said Julien. Goalies seem to be focused a lot of times. We understand how important goalies are given how stingy goal-scoring is at this point.

Goaltenders make a difference in games, and just look at the starts at the end of the game.

Chris Kelly scored his first goal as a member of the Bruins. It took Kelly 21 games to get on the board, though he had several close chances over the last month.

Milan Lucic took a puck to the face during warm-ups on Monday night after a shot took an errant bounce off the post, but he was fixed up with a handful of stitches just a few minutes prior to the games start.

Lucic was on the ice for the start of the game, and picked up an assist on Nathan Hortons first-period goal.

Daniel Paille once again enjoyed a good night as things were falling apart around him for the rest of the Bruins team. He fired off four shots on net, and scored Bostons first goal when he created pressure on a breakaway. Paille scored on the same shift when he got to the front of the net and then redirected a Johnny Boychuk shot pass from the right point past Henrik Lundqvist.

Thats three goals in six games for Paille, who was one of the few Bs players that continued working hard long after his fellow forwards started slacking in the 5-3 defeat to the Rangers.

Thats where it needs to be right now, said Paille. Thats my focus right now is to keep playing hard, but wins mean a lot more to us right now.

Kirk Luedeke from New England Hockey Journal first reported that Bs prospects Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner have both signed with the Bruins and will play the final three games of the regular season with the AHLs Providence Bruins as their professional debuts. Both players just recently finished up their junior hockey careers.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.